We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, June 14. 2015
I feel sad to be reaching the end of this book, packed as it is with the history and culture of the rowdy Jacobean England which was the context for what is considered the finest work ever written in English. My ditto on that.
The translating committee members needed to know Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Their instructions from King James were to produce a book majestic and poetic in tone but simple enough for an illiterate plowman to comprehend. James' goal was to have one bible for one people, and he even included Separatists on the committees. (The two Bibles in English at the time were neither majestic nor poetic. Those Separatists who became the American Pilgrims used the Geneva Bible which was a dry tome.) The King James has a few notorious mistranslations (eg camel and needle), but that's niggling.
God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (2005) by Adam Nicolson
Thursday, June 11. 2015
Wednesday, June 10. 2015
My visit to the lake was very short, but deliberate. I had a full day of history in Rome at the Forum, Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and Catacombs. My family is not fond of 'history' or 'battle' vacations, so I decided the best way to handle this was to pack it into the drive from Florence to Rome. On that drive, we first stopped at Siena, and spent several hours walking the beautiful streets of this city. Siena was too short, and worthy of a separate post altogether. But for me, the visit meant we were only an hour from Lake Trasimeno, which was 15 minutes out of our way on the final ride to Rome.
As a result, it was easy convincing everyone that dad could have one more slice of history pie.
Along the way, I told the story of Hannibal and the battle, and why it was so significant. First, it was the largest ambush in history, and remains so. Second, it was one of the first examples of a military turning movement. Finally, it was a decisive victory for the Carthaginians, wiping out two entire Roman legions by a factor of at least six Romans to one Carthaginian. However, some estimates put this ratio at 11 to 1.
Continue reading "Lake Trasimeno"
Sunday, June 7. 2015
Friday, May 29. 2015
Wednesday, May 27. 2015
Sunday, May 24. 2015
Thursday, May 14. 2015
Tuesday, May 12. 2015
We recently linked Surber on Col. John Gunby. A history buff pal emailed this comment:
Wednesday, April 15. 2015
I’m not going to paint this post with pictures or videos, but just let the words stand on their own. Today is Yom Hashoah, the day of remembrance of the millions of Jews singled out for slaughter in World War II and the heroes who fought back. Everyone says “never again”, but we all know that is a hollow pretense for almost all who say it. We have watched mass slaughters, including some specifically targeted against discrete ethnic or religious groups, and done little or nothing. As always, almost all say it’s not their business or they don’t want to get involved or similar. So, where does that really leave the Jews of Israel who are daily, openly threatened with extinction by MidEast fanatics who are gathering the means to do so, and getting closer? It leaves the Jews of Israel to do everything possible within its limited persuasion and power to protect itself. That’s the simple truth of the matter. And, the other simple truth of the matter is that the enemies of Israel have so infected this administration in Washington that it is speeding and easing the day of confrontation, in effect and in direct consequences of Washington’s weakness.
It is not surprising that some Jews in the US go along, either out of comforts or lack of ever actually feeling the wolf’s breath. There have always been such. And, although fate has not been kind to them in the past, they are an infection that is not due any excuses for their perfidy. These are simple truths. We will all face the violent outcome and consequences -- regardless of religion or national background -- either by fallout or the burning of our souls in the hell deserved for cowards. Or, we can be more forthright and outspoken and involved in doing all we can, really, to turn this administration away from utter capitulation and the prospective presidential candidates from any shadow of such policies.
Sunday, April 12. 2015
Sunday, March 29. 2015
The genius of Anglo-American law and its relationship to individual freedom, property rights, capitalism, contracts, and equality under the law.
The above is a section from Alan Macfarlane's excellent, or should I say "magisterial" book, The Invention of the Modern World.
A quote from the section:
Wednesday, March 18. 2015
A famous Cape-Codder, Lorenzo Dow Baker (scroll down a little for the story):
As the 8th & youngest child of a fisherman and his wife, Lorenzo grew up on a homestead on Bound Brook Island on the bay side of northern Wellfleet. When he was 6, his mother died and his dad married a widow with several children of her own. Needless to say, his was not an easy life. He was apprenticed to a fishing captain at age 10, became a cook on a fishing schooner at age 15 and was considered an outstanding fisherman at the age of 18. By age 20, he was captain of a fishing schooner and eventually owned his own fishing schooner, "Vineyard". He married his childhood sweetheart, Martha, when he was 21 and she was 17. They had 4 children, Lorenzo Jr., Joshua, Martha and Reuben. He was a devout Methodist and a devoted husband and family man. For nine years, he made his living as a sea captain and fisherman...
Read the rest of the story.
Friday, March 13. 2015
Saturday, March 7. 2015
Wednesday, February 25. 2015
Continue reading "New York is a Dying City"
Sunday, February 22. 2015
Saturday, February 14. 2015
Thursday, February 12. 2015
Saturday, January 31. 2015
Saturday, January 17. 2015
Thursday, January 8. 2015
I always wondered whatever happened to organ grinders. I'd never seen one in the US, except on cartoons or in old movies. I saw quite a few when I lived in London in 1983 (I have a picture of a particularly colorful one). I had no idea LaGuardia outlawed them, or his reasons for doing so. With the swipe of a pen, he outlawed a form of employment (beats the hell out of other forms of begging, if you ask me). But you can be assured, it was in the "best interest of the people" (and the monkeys!). I'm certain this is precisely how Mayor Bill feels about horse carriages. His views are the only ones that matter because nobody else really cares about those poor horses, right? It's in our best interest, of course. Below is a picture of one of the last legal organ grinders in NYC.
Tuesday, December 30. 2014
From Wikipedia, where I was doing some background research on various football teams:
In 1930, there were still many who questioned the quality of the professional game, claiming the college "amateurs" played with more intensity than professionals. In December 1930, the Giants played a team of Notre Dame All Stars at the Polo Grounds to raise money for the unemployed of New York City. It was also an opportunity to establish the skill and prestige of the pro game. Knute Rockne reassembled his Four Horsemen along with the stars of his 1924 Championship squad and told them to score early, then defend. Rockne, like much of the public, thought little of pro football and expected an easy win. But from the beginning it was a one-way contest, with Friedman running for two Giant touchdowns and Hap Moran passing for another. Notre Dame failed to score. When it was all over, Coach Rockne told his team, "That was the greatest football machine I ever saw. I am glad none of you got hurt." The game raised $100,000 for the homeless, and is often credited with establishing the legitimacy of the professional game for those who were critical.
Not an insubstantial sum, it represented .6% of per capita government welfare spending in the New York area. Total government (federal, state, and local) spending in 1930 was $11.9bb and only $300mm was on welfare. By 1934, those totals were $12.8bb and $1.0bb. By 1940, the same figures were $20.4bb and $2.1bb.
For all the problems the NFL faces, there is still plenty to feel good about, though I don't think it would be easy to match that $1.4mm figure today, unless all the ticket receipts were just turned over.
Sunday, December 28. 2014